Month :

Feb ,2017

From Richard Simpson via facebook:

Another piece of local history was demolished this week. It was the old Richmond Ice Company building on Edgewater Street at the corner of Sylvaton Terrace in Rosebank. The four-story cement building topped with gargoyles was built ca. 1905.

The company’s name Richmond Ice Company is/was inscribed on the waterside of the building which made it a prominent landmark when sailing into New York Harbor.

The Richmond Ice Company building was owned by the Richmond County Ice Company, incorporated in 1897 with capital of $5,000. Its directors were John Franzreb, James Guyon Timolat, Charles Jacobsen, John F. Smith, all of New Brighton and Robert G. Solomon of Concord.

Ice harvesting was a big business here in Staten Island. The ice trade also known as the frozen water trade made many men very wealthy. One of the largest ice companies was E.A. Britton & Sons who owed Britton’s Pond. The “E” stood for Elizabeth. The “A” might have stood for her deceased husband, Abraham, who built a grist mill on the pond cr. 1825. About 1880 the mill was turned into an ice house. Elizabeth and Abraham’s sons were Harry C. and Winfield S. Britton.
The Britton’s cut the ice in large chunks sometimes measuring ten feet by ten feet. The chunks were put on a conveyor belt and pulled into the ice house where it was cut into smaller more manageable pieces. The ice was distributed to local businesses, especially beer breweries.

James Guyon Timolat married into the Britton family and took the ice business to the next level. He cut the ice from the pond and transported it by horse and carriage to the company’s ice storage house on Edgewater Street. Every other day a boat or barge (which at that time pulled up to the ice house) was loaded with ice and shipped to Manhattan and other cities in the Metropolitan area where it was sold to food purveyors, restaurants, hospitals and private residences. Many of the wealthy who summered on Long Island built a small ice house on their property and served iced tea and lemonade over ice on a hot summer day.

By the late teens and early 1920s the ice business decreased due to the invention of the ice box (refrigerator).

In the early 1920s the Richmond Ice Company sold the Britton Pond property to the New York City Parks Department and was renamed Clove Lakes.

Ironically, the Richmond Ice Company building is located a few hundred feet from St. Mary’s R.C. Church on Bay Street which unless it is landmarked is also in danger of being demolished.

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Landmarks votes to create the Morningside Heights Historic District

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A major preservation triumph in northern Manhattan

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from the NY Daily News:

New York plans to blow up 77-year-old Kosciuszko Bridge as replacement spans near completion

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Neighborhood Movie Nights 2016-2017

Every month, 7-9pm; doors open at 6:30pm
St. Paul’s Chapel (Broadway and Fulton Street)
You’re invited to take a cinematic stroll down New York’s memory lane at St. Paul’s Chapel, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary on October 30. Each movie will be accompanied by a brief talk about New York and St. Paul’s Chapel during the time period of the monthly featured film.
Admission and snacks are free.  Films are suitable for general audiences – most are rated PG13.

Friday, October 28: The Cameraman (1928)

Friday, November 18: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

Friday, December 16: Remember the Night (1940)

Friday, January 27: Funny Face (1957)

Friday, February 24: The Odd Couple (1968)

Friday, March 24: Love Story (1970)

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from MCNY.com, “Welcome To Fear City” screening of short films from the 1970s-80s in NYC

…”Savor this 16mm snapshot of the period, featuring four rarely-screened short films from the period. The films will be introduced by Will Hermes, senior critic for Rolling Stone, frequent contributor to NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and author of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever, who is currently writing a biography of Lou Reed.

Sodom and Gomorrah, New York, 10036
Rudy Burckhardt, 1976, 6.25 min 
At the age of 62, in the year of Travis Bickle, one of New York’s great photographic chroniclers, turned his slyly responsive camera-eye on the city’s booming sex industry at 8th avenue and 42nd street. The result, like all Burckhardt’s work, is a lyrical impression of a time and place.

A Sense of Pride: Hamilton Heights
Monica J. Freeman, 1977, 15 min
Monica J. Freeman’s serene portrait of Hamilton Heights at the peak of its brownstone revival is a testament to the cohesion and spirit of an African-American middle class fighting hard for its place in a depressed city, and, in the process, returning a grand old neighborhood to its rightful splendor.

Punking Out
Maggi Carson, Juliusz Kossakowski & Ric Shore, 1978, 23 min
In 1977, three NYU film students ventured into the bowels of CBGB, returning with this snapshot of the venue in full flower. Intercutting brief glimpses of the Ramones, Dead Boys, and the Voidoids doing their worst, and disarmingly raw, unguarded interviews with band members and patrons alike, this may be the definitive punk document.

Electric Boogie
Tana Ross & Freke Vuijst, 1983, 34 min
Centered around a group of four black and Puerto Rican youths dubbed the Electric Boogie Boys, this short documentary from a pair of European filmmakers is a seminal portrait of the South Bronx break dancing scene.

Includes Museum admission and complimentary beer provided by Sixpoint Brewery.

Smile, It’s Your Close Up, our nonfiction film series co-programmed with Jessica Green and Edo Choi of the Maysles Documentary Center, zooms in on key moments, individuals, and communities to pose the question: “What makes New York New York?” Each program includes an introduction or conversation with filmmakers or other notable guests.

$15 for adults | $12 for seniors, students & educators (with ID) | $10 for Museum and Maysles Documentary Center members.

 

Attention, Members, to receive your discount, click on the “Buy Tickets” button above, then sign in to your account on the ticketing page.

Groups of 10 or more get discounts and priority seating, email or call us at programs@mcny.org or 917-492-3395.

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This business is now bygone, and 3rd generation owner Paul Eng gave it its eulogy via the vanishing New York blog…

From Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fong Inn Too

 VANISHING

Fong Inn Too is the oldest family-run tofu shop in New York City and, quite possibly, in the United States. Founded on Mott Street in Chinatown in 1933, it closes forever tomorrow–Sunday, January 15.

Paul Eng

Third-generation co-owner Paul Eng showed me around the place. Upstairs, a massive noodle-making machine churns out white sheets of rice noodle, sometimes speckled with shrimp and scallion. Downstairs, a kitchen runs several hours a day with steaming woks and vats of tofu and rice cake batter, including a fragrantly fermenting heirloom blend of living legacy stock that dates back decades.

Eng’s family came to New York from Guangzhou in the Guangdong province of China (by way of Cuba), like many of Chinatown’s earliest immigrants. His grandfather, Geu Yee Eng, started the business, catering mainly to the neighborhood’s restaurants. His father, Wun Hong, and later his mother, Kim Young, took over after World War II and kept it going, branching out from tofu to many other items, including soybean custard, rice noodle, and rice cake.


Brown rice cake waiting to be cut

The rice cake is the shop’s specialty. It has nothing to do with the puffed rice cakes you eat when you’re on a diet. This cake is fermented, gelatinous, sweet, and sticky like a honeycomb. It comes in traditional white as well as brown, a molasses creation of Geu Yee Eng, and it is an important food item for the community.

A few times each year, the people of Chinatown line up down the block for rice cake to bring to the cemeteries, leaving it as an offering to their departed relatives.

“It’s a madhouse,” says Paul. “They come early to beat the traffic and fight each other for the rice cake.” No one else makes it–Fong Inn Too supplies it to all the neighborhood bakeries. “Once we’re gone, it’s gone.” Customers have been asking Paul where they will get their rice cake for the next cemetery visit. “I tell them I don’t know.”


Cutting the white rice cake

The Engs have sold their building and Fong Inn Too goes with it. Business has been hard, though Paul’s brothers, Monty and David, have done their best. Their father passed away earlier this year. Their eldest brother, Kivin, “the heart of the place,” also passed. Their mother tried to keep it going, but “her legs gave out,” and she had to stop. The closing, Paul says, has been hardest on her. “This place is like a child to her.”

Paul is the youngest of his siblings and, while he worked in the store as a kid, he doesn’t know the business anymore. Like many grandchildren of immigrants, his life is elsewhere. As for the fourth generation, there’s no one available to take over.


Paul Eng

“I’m in mourning,” Paul told me–for the shop, for family, and for his childhood home.

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Though such terminology as “fair trade” and “ethical shopping” have become buzzwords in recent years, a business which has engaged in a version of this mindful commerce before it became fashionable is going out of business. By April, NYC will have seen the last of Liberty House. The story, from Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Liberty House

VANISHING

Liberty House, at 112th and Broadway, is vanishing after 49 years in business. And it’s no ordinary local shop.


photo: Jed Egan, New York magazine

It is the last of its kind, a small chain of New York shops first organized in 1965 by Abbie Hoffman and other civil rights workers in Mississippi to sell goods made by poor women of color, with the profits going back to the original communities, and to support the Civil Rights Movement.

I talked to co-owner Martha who told me the shop will shutter at the end of April. They’ll be having a sale until then, from 20% to 50% off.

This time, it’s not the rent. “People aren’t shopping,” Martha said. “They’re going online. It’s convenient. They tell me, ‘I can sit at home and shop in my pajamas.’ But people have to shop local or else there won’t be any stores anymore.”


photo via Liberty House Facebook page

The second-to-last Liberty House shuttered in 2007, also on the Upper West Side. It was a victim of rising rents.

Back then, a customer told the Times, “I don’t know how you stop these people. They’re throwing everyone out right and left, and it’s going to be a neighborhood of Duane Reades and Godiva chocolates. This store should have made it.”

Said one of the shop’s partners, “The diversity of people, both incomes and interests, has lessened and we have more of what we used to call upwardly mobile people, who shop online or drive to malls, or get in cabs and go to Barneys.” …

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from City Reliquary:

Heroes of the Knish: Making a Living and Making a Life

Photo Credit: Barbara Pfeffer

Photo Credit: Barbara Pfeffer

The City Reliquary presents:
Heroes of the Knish: Making a Living and Making a Life
Sunday, Feb. 12 – May 7
Opening reception: Sunday, February 12 @ 2 PM
(Curator’s talk and Knish Trivia @ 3PM)
$10/$8 Reliquary members

Heroes of the Knish: Making a Living and Making a Life tells the story of courageous women and men who churned out potato pies and paved lives for themselves and their families. The exhibit is curated by Laura Silver, award-winning author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food (Brandeis, 2014).

At the opening reception on Sunday, February 12, Silver, known as the world’s leading expert on the knish, will deliver an illustrated talk on the sultry side of the potato pie. Aphrodisiac, inspiration for off-color jokes and fount of feminism, the knish has been a hot commodity in New York City for over a decade.

Attendees can cut their teeth on knish trivia while noshing on round and square versions of this classic street food from Knishery NYC and Gabila’s Knishes! Tickets on sale now! Admission includes one knish and pickles. Beverages available by suggested donation.

From the Lower East Side of Manhattan to the Brooklyn seaside, the knish has become a standby on sidewalk carts and at ethnic eateries in the five boroughs and beyond. Since its arrival on these shores with Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, the knish — whose origins can be traced to rural Poland of the 1600s — has wedged itself into the hearts, guts and psyches of New Yorkers of all stripes.

The exhibit introduces legendary and lesser-known knish kings and queens who have made their mark on New York City over the last century. It showcases a never-before-assembled collection of artifacts, archival materials, and stories from knish purveyors  past and present. Items on display include a stock certificate from Mrs. Stahl’s Knishes of Brighton Beach, the knish correspondence of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; a song about Ruby the Knishman, who sold potato pies to schoolkids in Canarsie; and chronicles of the Knish Crisis of 2013, when, following a factory fire, Gabila’s was forced to stop production of square, Coney Island-style knishes for nearly six months.

About the Curator:
Laura Silver is a third-generation New Yorker and the award-winning author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food (Brandeis, 2014). Her research on the humble hunk of dough spanned seven years, three continents and all five boroughs of her hometown. Silver’s work on the knish has been featured on NPR, WNYC,  in major outlets in Canada, Germany and Poland, and on Al-Jazeera America. The New York Times called her book “whimsical, mouthwatering and edifying.”


About The City Reliquary Museum:
The City Reliquary Museum & Civic Organization preserves the everyday artifacts that connect visitors to the past and present of New York City. It was originally established as an apartment window display in 2002 at the corner of Grand and Havemeyer Streets and relocated to 370 Metropolitan Avenue in 2006.

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Vendor Fair With Free-Range Cupid!

Shake off your lonesome winter blues and get your crafting scissors ready, because you never know what manner of comely suitors await deserving of your best handmade Valentine at ye Old-Timey Valentine’s Market on Sunday, February 12 (1-7PM). RSVP here!
We will be bringing it back to a rosy, nostalgia-tinged time of yore. Our annual Valentine’s Market will be held at the Greenpoint Loft (67 West St), once the home of the largest rope manufacturer in the U.S. and now beautifully restored to its pre-war glory.

Whether you’re single, attached, or can’t really say, come imbibe Prohibition-era cocktails and vintage jazz tunes — or just mix and mingle as you shop for yourself, your friends, or your beloved.

As always, we’ll be offering plenty of free, fun activities in addition to a judiciously selected panel of amazing local vendors.

As always, we’ll have a photo booth in full swing too: think giant paper cut-outs, crafty roses, and old-timey chandeliers. Check out our Street Love photo booth photos from our last Valentine’s Market.

Don’t forget to stop by the bar for a Prohibition-era Bee’s Knee’s cocktail made with Brooklyn Gin. Palinkerie will also be providing a delicious assortment of Hungarian wine, and Greenpoint Beer & Ale will have all hands on deck as well (or at least enough hands to provide two different kinds of beers).

Jazz trio Andrew’s Tiger will be regaling the masses with their instruments. Swing dancers welcome!

And just in case you thought this was all hearts and roses, a few members of the Women’s March NYC Chapter will swing by with postcards and art — proceeds will go toward the cause.

Preview our vendors!

Lastly, never fear, because Cupid is here. Check him out at the last Valentine’s market!…

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